Tag Archives: writing

The 100 Word Story

One hundred seems perfect. It’s the basis of percentages, the perfect test score, the boiling point of water (Celsius), purity. Pythagoreans considered 100 as divine because it is the square (10 x 10) of the divine decad (10). Even a Scrabble set has 100 tiles.

And yet 100 is a fragment. It’s an arbitrary marker, like the “First 100 Days” of a president’s term—merely a promise of what’s to come, or a whiff of what has passed.

The whole is a part and the part is a whole. The 100-word format forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste in a way that even most flash fiction doesn’t. At the same time the brevity of the form allows the writer “to keep a story free from explanation,” as Walter Benjamin wrote.

For life doesn’t lend itself so easily to our elucidations. “Incoherence is preferable to a distorting order,” said Roland Barthes.

None of us will ever know the whole story in other words. We can only collect a bag full of shards that each seem perfect.

From   [ 100 word story ]

This is surely old news to any actual writers reading this, but the concept is new to me. I credit Matt On Accident for my enlightenment. Think I will give it a try …

Status Update

So, what’s going on with Contrafactual?

Basically, I’m getting serious about The Nudist War. I’m revising it with the intent of having something that would be in a better format to be publishable. I am re-reading each ‘Day’, fixing typos, fixing the formatting, and adding some additional content. I have scheduled the release of a new ‘Day’ for every Sunday and those will continue out into the future. I will keep the old ‘Day’s for historical reference, but you will need to ‘search’ for them.

To my old readers, I apologize for the delay in getting the new ‘Day’s out, but this is something I had to do. I invite you to start from the beginning of The Nudist War, it will be familiar, but I have made some minor changes.

To my new readers, I hope you will enjoy The Nudist War it is a zombie novel … with a twist.

Thank you again for all of your readership and following in the past and I hope that I can continue to entertain you in the future.


Rocket Man – what is wrong?

Despite all the other fun bits that I include in my blog … my cats, the interesting YouTube video, various fun facts, music, history … my real reason for blogging is that I want to write fiction. I currently have two main streams of fiction: the Day 42 zombie saga and the Mars collection of science fiction short stories.

I recently wrote a new short story titled Rocket Man.

I included various supplementary material on either side of it. Prior to posting Rocket Man. I reblogged both Phobos Rising and Jumper. After I posted it, I included a history of the Rocket Man song. Intermixed with this was a variety of other video posts and a cat post.

The material on either side of the Rocket Man short story got numerous ‘likes’ … yet Rocket Man got only a single ‘like’.

I am perplexed.

• Did you read it and not like it?

• If you read it and did not like it, can you tell me what you disliked?

Be frank I’m a big boy I can take criticism.

• If you didn’t read it why not?

As always I am extremely appreciative of your feedback.

Thanks cb


With the re-blog of Day 42, I decided to go back and start rereading to refresh my memory. I realized that the lab was on different floors of the CDC Special Circumstances building on different days. Quite a feat I’d say, wouldn’t you?

I wonder what other glaring inconsistencies I will find?



Ever since iOS 6, Apple has included a microphone icon on the keyboard.


Above you can easily see the microphone icon. Next to it is the icon for changing between international keyboards.

One of the things that I don’t like about the iPhone is the fact that the keys on the keyboard are too small for my fat fingers.

I’m testing what I can do with dictation. In fact this entire post has been dictated using my iPhone. It’s really very amazing; yet another example of Arthur C Clark’s “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

One of the things I’ve noticed is that the microphone for the iPhone is on the bottom and so I have to be careful about how I hold it otherwise I cover the microphone with my thumb and of course then it doesn’t work. I also just noticed that it doesn’t like the word “thumb”. I get “some”; I get “from”; but I don’t get thumb.

However I think it’s good enough. I plan to begin dictating all of my posts on my iPhone. I think I’ll use it on my next installment of Day 42 (DayZ of DiZeaZe).

Arrrggghhhh …

… to quote Charlie Brown.

Every time I reread my initial posts, I find more typos. Not misspelled words, just perfectly valid wrong words. I assure you that I have read and reread each of my posts for spelling and punctuation before posting. Incorrect spelling looks so amateurish. Unfortunately I seem to read what I expect to see and not what is really there.

Even worse there appears to be a disconnect between brain and fingers. I frequently wonder how what I wanted to type turned into what I actually typed. I blame autocorrect. Were these text messages or emails I might be less concerned (although I do strive for accuracy in my emails), but this is alleged to be a literary blog. Please accept my sincere apologies. I will strive to correct this.

One other point, after some deliberation I have decided to eliminate or at least reduce the number of external links. Chances are that since you are reading this, your Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engine skills are probably pretty good. Feel free to leave a comment if you prefer me to add more external links.

John Scalzi

This blog is dedicated to John Scalzi. He is the reason I am writing this and as such deserves some of the blame for what I may soon be inflicting upon you, my dear readers. For those of you who do not know of John Scalzi, I direct you to his blog Whatever and his Wikipedia page. There you will find more info on him than I could ever hope to catalog here.

Scalzi is an accomplished professional writer (by his own account he makes a good living at it). I discovered him via Red Shirts and continued on through the Old Man’s War series. If you like sci-fi you probably already know of him. I highly recommend him. His books and eBooks are available at all of the usual places.

In addition to writing sci-fi and non-fiction, he is one of the web’s earliest bloggers. His blog Whatever has been active since 1998. In it he pretty much writes about whatever he wants (hence the name) – using it as a tool to hone his writing skills. He also offers frequent advice to would-be writers as summarized in his books:

  • You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing (2007),
  • Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998–2008 (2008),
  • and the upcoming Mallet of Loving Correction.

I highly recommend these books to anyone considering a career in writing and to anyone else with a sense of humor.

In his writings, Scalzi repeatedly recommends blogging as a way of perfecting one’s writing skills and creating a following. I am taking his advice to heart. Although I have a lucrative day job, I have fantasies of one day becoming a writer. I use the word fantasies because terms like hopes, dreams, plans, etc. are way too concrete. My fantasies of writing do not even include the “paid” part. At this point in time I am curious to know if anything I write is interesting to anyone else. I don’t know if I will have the time or the fortitude to make the time to write on a daily basis. Heck, I am posting this a day late as it is. Be that as it may, I am jumping head-first into the blogosphere. I hope it’s not too cold.